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Northrop Grumman-Built NPOESS Satellite Achieves Milestone for Early Spacecraft Testing

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Sept. 10, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has inaugurated a critical tool that will reduce the risk associated with developing the spacecraft for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) program.

The Electrical Engineering Model Test Bed (EEMTB) is a high-fidelity electrical model of the NPOESS satellite, consisting of subsystem engineering models and sensor engineering development units integrated in a flight-like electrical configuration. It is capable of "test as you fly," real-time, closed-loop testing to validate the spacecraft design and substantially reduce risk during integration and test.

The spacecraft design will be validated through continuous testing as the subsystems are added to incrementally build up the test bed over the coming months.

"This test bed marks NPOESS' transition to the final phase of spacecraft development," said Dave Vandervoet, vice president and NPOESS program manager for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "We completed the EEMTB early, ahead of spacecraft integration and test, giving us ample opportunity to find and fix problems to ensure successful satellite integration and test. The spacecraft is now at a higher level of maturity for integration and test than is typical at this stage."

The nation's next-generation, low-Earth orbiting operational weather and climate monitoring system, NPOESS is designed, and is being built, to provide vast improvements in the timeliness and accuracy and fidelity of critical information for both defense and civil needs. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for NPOESS and leads an industrial team under contract to the tri-agency NPOESS Integrated Program Office.

"The EEMTB provides early validation of the satellite's electrical performance," said Mary Ann Chory, NPOESS space segment director for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "Engineering model hardware will be continually integrated over the coming year to build a full electrical flight-like satellite in test bed form."

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

CONTACT:  Sally Koris 
          Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems 
          310.812.4721 
          Cell: 310.567.5279
          sally.koris@ngc.com